Father, thank You for waking me up today. Thank You for breathing life into my family. Father, I thank You for being the key to my financial freedom. I thank You for being my benefactor. Father, I know You are the payor on the checks with my name on them. Thank You for continuously writing checks with my name on them. Thank You for depositing funds into my account. Thank You for sending cash my way. Thank You for opening Your safe for me to have limitless access. Thank You that all creditors have paid in full next to my name. Father, because of You, I owe no one. Father, I am financially stable because of You, and my accounts are always in the black. Because of You, I lack no good thing. Because of You, I can always purchase what I want and need. Father, because of You, I always have more than enough. Father, I thank You because I do not have to search or beg for beg. Father, thank You for being my provider. In Jesus' name, amen.
* Black History Facts
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William Washington Browne, a former Georgia slave who founded the first ever Black-owned bank in America. Founded in 1888, the bank opened with deposits on the first day of more than $1,269. Reverend William Washington Browne established the bank to serve the financial interests of Black depositors.
From slave to bank owner
Reverend William Washington Browne established the bank to serve the financial interests of Black depositors. He wanted a bank that would serve to protect the finances of Black clients to ensure their finances could not be monitored by whites.
The name of the bank came from the Grand Fountain United Order of True Reformers, a Black fraternal organization established by Browne in 1849. Racial tension remained high after the Civil War, so Browne established the first Black-owned bank in Richmond, Virginia, which initially operated out of his home. Two years later, the bank moved to its location several blocks away at 604-608 North Second Street.
Thrived despite the economic depression
The bank did very well. When the U.S. economic depression of 1893 hit and people were panicking and rushing to the banks to withdraw their money, Browne's bank was one of the few that survived. In fact, it was the only bank in Richmond that was able to pay out the full value of it's customers' accounts and remain in full operation.
After Browne's death in 1897, the bank continued in operation. It also expanded into other areas, such as newspaper, real estate, a retirement home and a building and loan association. It's growth included operations in 24 states.
However, under the new president, Reverend William Lee Taylor, the bank was mismanaged, often making unsecured loans that defaulted. The straw that broke the camel's back was a bank embezzlement of $50,000 by the bank's cashier. By 1910, the State Corporation Commission ordered the bank closed. But, it remains in history as the first bank owned by African Americans in the United States.